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What to do when sellers leave their rubbish behind

A client of ours recently sought advice as she had recently completed on the purchase of a residential property but then discovered that the attached garage was full of bags of compost, old pieces of furniture, broken toys etc,  Our client wanted to know what he could do about this?

Generally a contract for the sale of a residential property provides for vacant possession on completion which means that the property must be unoccupied and empty of all contents apart from any contents which the parties have agreed should remain following completion.

Prior to exchange of contracts solicitors would have received from the seller’s solicitors a property information form which was completed by the sellers in which the sellers should have confirmed that on completion the property would be free of rubbish and would be left in a clean and tidy condition.

Due to the fact in this this instance the sellers had left a lot of rubbish behind in the garage we advised our client that one option would be to ask the estate agent to contact the sellers to ask them to remove their belongings from the garage.  An alternative would be for us (as a firm of solicitors) to write to the sellers solicitors of the situation and inform them that if their client doesnt remove the items left behind in the garage immediately our client will arrange for their disposal and look to the seller for reimbursement of the costs for doing this.

If this all fails then court action is possible against the sellers to recover any costs of disposing of the rubbish left by the sellers.  However, this is likely to be costly and time consuming.